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Thursday, May 28

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot : No to gay marriage referendum

In the wake of Ireland’s historic legalization of same-sex marriage, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot has dismissed the idea of a referendum on the issue in his own country. Referendums are held when constitutional changes are proposed, and “I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that the constitution needs to be changed in this respect.”
Abbot, a staunch Catholic, is personally against same-sex marriage but feels the issue should be dealt with through Parliament. His priority is boosting the economy. The issue was raised and defeated in Parliament in 2012, and the conservative government is opposed to changing existing marriage law in any way.
He concedes it’s a serious issue that is important to a lot of Australians but says unless and until it comes before Parliament again, it’s a moot point. If it does come up again, Parliament will decide whether existing policy continues or not and, in Abbot’s words, “we will have a good debate.”
“Not for a second do I want to underestimate the feelings that people have on this issue, both for and against, not for a second,” he says.  “… But my priority as Prime Minister, the government’s priority in the coming fortnight is to give the small businesses of Australia the confidence boost that they deserve.”

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